Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy 57th brithday, my dear brother, Saint John Ganzer (updated)


Born 4 February, 1955 in Streator, Illinois, John was always an energetic enthusiastic child whose wide-ranging interests and God-given talent for singing made him a family, friend, classmate, and teachers' favorite.

John was also blessed with a common sense pragmatism leading his siblings to speculate that he was not related to any of us. He never made things complicated. He loved to make us laugh, and in our laughing, love our lives and our God all the more.

As with all the Ganzer children, John sang church solos and took piano lessons (from Louise Castelli).  He also joined band, following his brother Mark's trail by choosing to learn the Baritone (since he was forever feted to be a first tenor, the contrast seemed a logical fit).

His favorite school subjects were English and History.  Had his acting career not fared as well as it did, he would have become a High School History teacher.  He was always small, owing most likely to the X-rays given at birth.  Were it not for his Uncle Bill Richardson's keeping abreast of developments in the medical profession, John might not have survived his first year. But Uncle Bill told mom to stop having him x-rayed.

He survived and he thrived. His perseverance was even more diligent than his father Ralph's, and his forward planning was stupendous - an incredible thing to behold, to see a 4th grader plan four years down the road to running for President of the 8th grade middle school council was astonishing - almost as devastating a table run as Barack Obamamade after coming to the forefront of "liberal-democratic" conscienseness after delivering the Democratic Primary Keynote address for John Kerry.  When the Student Council votes were tallied, John and his running mate had garned more than 1,000; his opponent (and good friend, who would follow

John into the acting business in New York City, going so far as even to swipe a rent-controlled apartment out from under John's best laid plans) had less than 50.

Having proved to himself he could succeed in politics, John was able to devote all of his free time efforts to studying and perfecting his singing and acting talents.

John had the great and good fortune to attend Barrington Consolidated High School whose legendary performing arts department was begun the the genius Richard C. Johnson.  John kept every one of Dick's hand-written stage notes for every play he was in (that would be twelve of them!).  John was also in the first high school class that would have the benefit of four full years of Philip Mark's music directorship - the results comparing Christmas and Spring Concerts over the years are flabbergasting.  Phil took the choir programs to heights not even Deadaluas dreamt to fly.

John was also blessed with as talented a group of high school performing artists as has EVER been assembled, and he loved them all, and they all him.  The effervesant Colleen Zenk first befriended him, and embraced him into her arms and under her bossom.  Ditto for Claire Bataille, Chris Limber (the finest Tevyev actor every born, or ever likely to be born), Matthew Ward, and I do all of you others a serious injustice (oh, Mark Parker, Bob Ploch) by ommitting your names. Forgive me, please.

Randy Nolde played as large a role as an adult teacher-mentor as anyone, and John simply loved the man (it was reciprocated). And oh the girls, OH, the girls. They loved him in so many beautiful ways, that my lust for his harem(s) was kind of trashy by way of comparison.  But we shan't forget Janie Kinchloe, Heather (the Wench) Watson, Dawn Duhaime (and her brother Brian).


John was mechanical. He loved to drive. We had a tractor lawn mower that he leapt on, like a dog in heat to his master's leg, and mowed round and round, back and forth all that summer of '67 long.  When he was 14, he asked mom if he could practice driving with her.  She had him (so she thought). "Well, if you can back out of the driveway, I will let you."

Again, he LEAPT at the opportunity. Mom thought that he'd get the wheel moves backwards, but, John hadn't been tractor-mowing for three years to mess up this grand opportunity.  So driving lessons it was, which went swimmingly well, EVEN when he bumped our 1964 Studebaker (the automatic, we got a second one with a clutch, which only John and Papa Ralph could drive - hmm, fancy that!) into the back of a local car dealer's vehicle.  When the police officer came to check the situation out, the dealer just waved him away. "All under control here officer."


Show Boat was a grand triumph, both for John and Chris Limber.  Dick Johnson always picked his plays to fit the talents of his most veteran thesbians.  This was a great match.  The following year, it was Fiddler on the Roof.  Holy smokes, talk about being on fire!

The rest of his senior year was not so triumphant.  All three of thebitches girls he asked out turned him down.  He was in the dumps, but then, things go like that: when you're hot you're hot, when you're not you're not.


He was accepted by the University of Illinois, majoring in Music, minoring in History, keeping the options open. But there was a secret John, that only he most trusted and beloved knew, and Secret John wanted more than anything to do his night club act (a la Mel Torme) on the Johnny Carson show (after all, John and older brother Mark used to spend hours practicing their wit, accents, cadences, emphases, etc, into the reel to reel tape recorder their beloved Uncle Floyd had given the family on one of his usual Crown Jeweled Christmas present days).

John withdrew from the U. of I. after one year (1973-74, the Year of the Streaker) and returned to Barrington where he managed a PLITT Theatre for a little more than a year.  He also performed in Summer Stock in Milwaukee and Indiannapolis, making ever more contacts who would later help and support him so much when his time came to invade New York City.


Well, the PLITT thing wasn't getting him any nearer to Johnny Carson (especially since Johnny C. had pulled up out of NYC to go broadcast on the left coast - generally a wrong move for a bona fide mid-western kid with a quick mind, a compassionate soul, and a never-ending cornucopia of God-given talent with the self-discpline to develop that talent). So, John up and left for the Big Apple, where for the first several years, he made far more money cleaning toilets and decorating fake Christmas Trees at Macy's than he did from his acting craft.  He also got work as a singing waiter at the most excellent restuarant, Panache.

But John always had an advantage, a HUGE advantage over about 90% of the actors he ever auditioned with: He WANTED the part, always. And so, he started to get work, and as is always the case, work begets more work, and he landed his best gig ever, stage manager for Joseph and the Amazing Colored Dream Coat, where he was responsible for eleven understudy parts.  This shortly led to a lead, which he never relinquished, performing in all 743 consecutive performances, with Anthony Gibb, and the dork (Donnie Osmond?) from the stupid 60's TV show, The Brady Bunch.

Will never understand high school girls. Who WOULDN'T want to go to senior prom with this good lookin' stud muffin.  Hell, I'd have gone if only he had asked, and I have let him get to second base, too!

Your loss ladies, your inestimable loss.

Just try to imagine how much fun this would have been for this lusty, holy trio!  The experience of a lifetime, and memories to last even longer.


Maybe the reason all those other bitches fine and upstanding moral young ladies slapped you down was because YOU WOULDN'T PUT OUT!  YA THINK.

HELL, I am getting more pissed off by the second, and to think, I never forced myself, or even thought about it, on any one of them.

What Kind of Fool am I?


Well, this is about the wrap. Except for the time I was back from school, a 172 pound college graduate and John was his stylish 115-pound self, when I casually said, "So, you wanna

Little mutha dropped to the floor - "You got top" he said, and pinned my flabby white ass in under 8 seconds.  HOLY SHEE-IT!  It was payback for all those years I paid him $0.35 every week to deliver 30% of the papers on the streets with the only two dogs what ever bit me (my weekly take was $8.50 - so, John was actually entitled to about ... $2.55 each week).  Good lesson young brother of mine - You're family will screw you when it comes to money.  Take THAT to Actor's Equity Council and Bite On It.  (Which, btw, I'm quite sure, he did).

Oh, and that summer, when John and Colleen Zenk put on the production to raise money for St. Joseph's, at the after performance cast party, I was introduced to some sweet young thang as "John Ganzer's older brother," within earshot of the man his own self.  Double triumph bro - the way it was always supposed to be.

The perfect way to end this would be to show John and Colleen Dewhurst. Sadly, that picture was never taken. Instead, here he is shaking hands, in Ford's Theatre, shortly before he was hit by The Virus, shaking the hand of the most calculating draft-dodger Communist who ever swore the oath "To uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both domestic and foreign.)

With Love, John - to You, and All You Loved.


John would be the first to tell you that this former card-carrying member of the Communist Party, who freely finked on his brother actors during the Scoundrel time of the McCarthy HUAC Hearings - son of an alcoholic father and highly motivated mother, Reagan learned that by renouncing all the causes of his youth he could convert his boyish good looks into lots of money, power, and political prestige.  And he never once, in all his terms in office said the word, "AIDS," as if,  in not brining its name to the light of day, he could save his own son from it.

And if you two had it all to do over again,

A cosmic mulligan, as it were,

Please, oh please, just this one thing I ask of you,

That you would not do one single thing differently than you did,

That you love and adore when we were the kid 
that we would once again grow up to be,
Light, effervesant, free,

Star dust - from here, the present, to the end of time, 
and back to the beginning again -
Unbounded and unbounding, confined only 
by our own imaginings - we come return 
Again, and again, and again, and again.



Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:  Royale Theatre, (1/27/1982 - 9/4/1983)

Opening:    Jan 27, 1982                      Closing:    Sep 4, 1983

Total Performances:    743

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Credits [see more]

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Zev Bufman, Susan R. Rose, Melvyn J. Estrin, Sidney Shlenker and Gail Berman; Produced by arrangement with The Robert Stigwood Organization Ltd. and David Land; Associate Producer: Thomas Pennini, Jean Luskin, Jerome Edson and The Rose

Originally directed by Frank Dunlop at the The Young Vic (Frank Dunlop: Director); Originally directed at Ford's Theatre in the United States by James D. Waring; Originally choreographed at Ford's Theatre in the United States by Wayne Cilento

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyrics by Tim Rice; Music arranged by Martin Silvestri and Jeremy Stone; Music orchestrated by Martin Silvestri and Jeremy Stone; Musical Director:

David Friedman; Book by Tim Rice

Directed by Tony Tanner; Choreographed by Tony Tanner

Scenic Design by Karl Eigsti; Lighting Design by Barry Arnold; Costume Design by Judith Dolan; Sound Design by Tom Morse; Wig Design by Charles LoPresto; Beaded Headpieces Designed by Paige Southard; Assistant to the Lighting Designer: Toni Goldin; Assistant to Ms. Dolan: Danajean Cicerchi; Assistant to Mr. Eigsti: Tom Cariello

General Manager: Theatre Now, Inc.; Company Manager: Helen V. Meier

Production Stage Manager: Michael Martorella; Stage Manager: John Fennessy; Assistant

Stage Mgr: John Ganzer

Musical Supervisor: Martin Silvestri and Jeremy Stone; Assistant Conductor: Allen Cohen;

Copyist: Music Services Int'l, Ltd.; Orchestra Personnel Manager:Earl Shendell

Casting: Meg Simon and Fran Kumin; General Press Representative: Fred Nathan & Associates; Dance Captain: Joni Masella; Asst. to the Choreographer:Joni Masella;
Photographer: Martha Swope and Associates; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne


Bill Hutton - Joseph             David Ardao - Potiphar Ishmaelite          Laurie Beechman - Narrator

Tom Carder - Pharaoh             Philip Carrubba - Ishmaelite             Benjamin - Robert Hyman

Reuben - Randon Lo             Mrs. Potiphar - Steve McNaughton         Levi - Charlie Serrano

Napthali - Gordon Stanley         Jacob - David Asher                 Asher - Lorraine Barrett

Chorus Woman - Karen Bogan         Chorus Woman - Kenneth Bryan         Simeon - Butler

Katharine Buffaloe - Chorus Woman     Lauren Goler - Chorus Woman             Stephen Hope - Judah

Peter Kapetan - Issachar         Randon Lo - Chorus Woman             Joni Masella - Chorus Woman

Kathleen Rowe McAllen - Chorus Woman              James Rich - Dan             Barry Tarallo - Gad Baker

Doug Voet - Zebulon             Renée Warren - Chorus Woman    

IBDB - Internet Broadway Database®

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

John Ganzer      ( b. circa. 1955 - d. Dec 3, 1988 ) Male:     Stage Manager, Performer

Productions    747                        Dates  of  Productions

[Original, Musical, Comedy]                    Jan  27,  1982 - Sep  4,  1983

    Assistant Stage Manager: John Ganzer
        Swing: John Ganzer [Swing]
            Understudy: John Ganzer
                Joseph - Replacement

© 2001-2011, The Broadway League, All Rights Reserved. (Copyright and Disclaimer)


John contacted the AIDS virus after a break up with his long time love during which time (of the break up, and before John met another one of my personal heroes, Jay Poindexter) John went through his "promiscuous period" (which overlapped perhaps to the month my own promiscuous period, ironically - I was just luckier than John, in this regards - I didn't pick up the AIDS virus, and, given the bars I was hanging out at, it would have been entirely possible that I picked up a junkie - it just never happened).  Within several years, all of the approximately half dozen members of the "promiscuous circle" had not only tested HIV positive; they had died, so John all the long knew that his days were numbered, that one day he would become sick, and his immunological system would not be able to withstand that attack, that he would get AIDS, and that he would die; that he would wither away.  

This, of course, is one hell of a thing to deal with, but, as human beings, deal, we must, and he did. There was no need to tell his family that he was HIV positive (which he had known for years), but, when he was at Ford's Theater, starring in Godspell, (well, he had a lead role with a solo - "All Good Gifts," does THAT count as starring, or not?  Theater people, PLEASE let me know!)

Well, I shan't forget the night
When me brother calls up right
And it's later than hell one would think
So pleased was I to hear
The sweet music of his voice upon my ear
That a launchin' into talkin' I did do,
And then for the very first time,
He stepped upon me lines, saying,
"Mark, I need to talk to mom.,"
And surely swift I knew
My brother was a goner,
Old death would take him on 'er,
Oh, Lord God, can't you distinguish brothers two?
Ya took the wrong one, Lord, this I swear,
Lord give me this my prayer,
You may take my life away,
But let me brother stay,
He's the good one Lord, 
And Jesus, don't we know it.
This is not fair, my God,
Must I rattle, prattle, prod,
This mistake you've made, 
dear Lord it is not fair.

So I called me mother to the phone,
Down the stairs I slowly roamed,
And waited in anticipation, for her cry,
And shriek aloud she did,
And the thought, that I had over did
Me brother's plight with my imagination,
All dreams and hopes did die,
As I peered blank towards the sky,
Dear God, a great injustice has been done,

Dear John, the fair-haired child,
So kind, so generous, so mild,
So temperate, loving, empathetic, such a giver,
And here I am so talented
And wasting it a' feelin' sorry for my self
I've put my life up on the shelf
I've retired from livin' Lord you are not thinkin'!

You've took the wrong damn son,
Now Lord, do it over, please, take the one
The worthless child, not fit to lick John's boot straps
Take the one who did the deed,
And then torched his marriage creed
Who abandoned his own wife and child behind
Without the guts to even try,
I'd given up, all hope had run dry,
Hangin' on, by barely nothing but finger nail,

And though all my life was failin'
Here me mind begins to flailin'
Oh dear God, what in heavens name 
is there to do?
What can I do for my brother,
(You should have took the other),
What can I do to show my grattitude and thanks?
How can I honor him?
What gift can I bring?

Ah, I've but one and it's a petty, sad, thing,
But it's all that I can do,
And Lord, what it means to you,
Don't mean a damn to me, 
it's my brother don't ya see,
I must let him know my love,
How I cherish look up to him above
Although four years my junior, 
brother John he is,

And so I wrote him every week,
And sometimes 'twas more to speak,
I wrote of my life's boringest detail
I wrote him without fail,
For my life was all I had 
that I could give him,
Oh I wished that I would expire,
And not my brother be retired, 
the die cast by our live's lengths web-spinner,
But what it is, it is, 
and always it will be

So, now that I am well,
No longer living hell,
And past the mopes of purgatory non-feelings, too
My brother's story I do share,
You may wonder why I care,
It's in me it telling that 
on earth his memory lives!
And all who knew him well,
Know in heaven he doth dwell,
But your lives and too 
he touched your souls,
Made  them all a tad more whole,
Though that never was his goal,
That was simply one of many 
goods things he did!

But my brother John,
My hero, brother John,
My mentor, brother John,
My soul, brother John,
My spirit brother John,

What a man, again,Frere Jacques, 
God bless you and God rest you,
Enjoy the view from heaven,
With your mother and the seven
The seven souls you most touched
My dear Brother, Sainted, Saintly John!
You will always be the one
I'll be celebrating when 
MY moments onstage come!

For those of you that might not have known John, I'll cite a couple of things that will give you some insights:

John was brutally honest, with people he knew that were strong enough to take brutal honesty.  With me he was thoughtful enough to share AIDs-black humor, and this joke which was going the rounds of the AIDs-stricken gay community:

What's the most difficult thing about having AIDS?

Trying to convince your parents your Haitian!

But, to capture the quintessential spirit, kindness, empathy of John Franklin Ganzer, I must share this snipped of a phone conversation that John and I had one day:

"You know, Mark, I have AIDs, and I know I am going to die, in less than two years.  And I have some bad days, but, I also have some good days.  I cannot imagine what it is like to be perpetually depressed."

And this depressed me all the more - here, my brother is DYING, and all he can do, is think about the sadness of my situation.

But, when you're a giver, you're a giver all the way (and you literally WORK MIRACLES)!

JOHN also shared with me a story he of a lady that ran a public shelter at one of NYC's churches.  The reporter asked her if she ever got worried thinking about how precariously the organization was.

"Oh, Lordy me!" the lady replied.  If I thought about that kind of stuff, we never accomplish anything here, so I just don't let my mind go there.

Mother had a favorite expression (which she could never remember, after she had the stroke and the aphasia) which I remembered by the code A A A: Action Alleviates Anxiety.  In the moment I took up pen to begin to write my brother, I began to become healed of my depression.  Those first letters (which in retrospect, are QUITE good, I shall, I promise, share) got me started with something to do (one-third of the way to becoming a fully functioning human being - something to do; something to love; something to hope for - okay, John gives me something to love!  WHAT A GIFT!!!!  Thank you, John.

There is an ironic side note here.

Once, before he got sick, John went to visit an internationally reknown New York City psychic.  After getting all of the information internationally reknown psychics need to get, he made this pronouncement to John:  "The wrong brother is on the stage."

John shared that with me, again, during one of those incredibly blessed moments when we'd have the opportunity to speak together on the phone.

All I ever wanted to do was play the piano and sing for people.  Hell, I can't even find people to play and sing for, nonetheless, I practice, therefore, I maintain my skills, and, WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, (and not one moment earlier) it will come together, and I will go out and do a lot of good in the world.

And this will be my living legacy to my brother, Frere Jacque.

Thanks John, for gently pointing to me the way.

(It's not that John should not have gone the broadway route; it's just that he SHOULD have been a lounge singer instead of an actor; he would have lived longer, and maybe even much longer. OR, he should have been a high school history teacher.  John had a second big secret {besides wanting to sing on the Johnny Carson show}:  MORE than anything in the world, John wanted to have .... a SON!  Had he taken to teaching, he would have had MANY SONS that he would have mentored wisely; so, in THAT sense, the psychic was right. But, for those of you who have heard him sing from on stage, especially "All Good Gifts," all of you know better; John did the only thing that he could possible have done' he lived the only authentic life he could have possible lived.)


PART 7:        MAKING THE DREAM COME TRUE  |      PANACHE -- 149 E. 57th St.  955-0244 

11/1 at 8,  Dianna Templeton;         11/1 at 11, Tonnia Silicato;        
11/2 at 8,   Tonnia Silicato,        John Ganzer  11/4-6  at 8,         John Soleather at 11


And yet, after we depart this mortal coil, the good works we've done live on, in the lives and memories of those who held us so fondly, so warmly, so empathetically, and thus it has come to pass that my youngest sister, Marianne Catherine Ganzer, each year on her birthday, 8 November, 1959, gets up early, gathers her few brave friends, dons her wet suit, and embarks on that 120-mile RIVER RUN TRIATHALON which has enabled her to raise over $100,000 for Actors' Equity Fights Aids -- and these are but rivulets that rain down from the generosity of those who knew John, those who experienced John, those who have come to know him through the surviving recordings, and those who know only that their friends who have loved John are worthy of their free will contributions (in at least one case, as much as $10,000) to the cause, so that one day we may understand, and be able to sustain the lives of EVERY human being on the planet with the HIV virus.

In' Sha' Allah - God Willing


John's final words were spoken to our sister, Marianne, who was staying with him.
He was very sick, the priest was drunk, and John was concerned.

"I'm afraid, Marianne," he said.

"Oh John, you've been to the hospital before."

"No, that's not it, that's not what I'm afraid of."

"Well, John, you've had the drugs before, you know you can always get lots of valium."

"No, that's not it. That's not what I'm afraid of."

"What is it, John? What is it that you afraid of?"

"I'm afriad they'll never know how much I loved them."

AND EVEN NOW, 23 years after, typing these words, reading these words, hearing Marianne say these words, I weep, uncontrollably for the genius lost to us all - my brother's genius: the oracle of Manhattan.

For of whom, or to whom was John speaking?

You know it in your hearts; you know it in your guts;

Who was speaking for us all - FOR JOHN SO LOVED THE WORLD.

Blessings and Peace be upon us
And the Spirit of Tolerance,
The Spirit of Forgiveness.

In Love, With Love, Through Love
Until by Love's Loving, our fears are betrayed
And we ascend to alight the light of days.


In the matter of John Franklin Ganzer's legendary perseverance, our Great Uncle Harold took us Pullman First Class on the Great Empire Builder to Seattle in the Summer of 1966. We stopped in Havre Montana, where we have many relatives. We went on a picnic and John and I climbed a small mountain in the latter party of the mid-day afternoon. The scenery was breath-taking (this was August, under a cloudless Montana sky). John had to get a picture, but we had left the camera at the picnic table. He didn't even ask me to accompany him back down the mountain to fetch the camera to climb the mountain again whilst the sun was setting every more rapidly. He made it back in time and got some great photos. Persevere my man. Keep on keepin' on, my brother.

The summer after his high school senior year, he was selected as one of Barrington Consolidated High School's two representatives to the local song and dance troupe Great Waves of Care, which put on one heck of a show and toured the country. From that experience he made many more friends, and the following summer, he and Colleen Zenk put together a musical, song & dance ensemble to raise money for the Little Sisters of the Poor Catholic home. The talent was incredible! I wrote the musical score for Summer In the City, for which Matthew Ward was eternally grateful, because that was not one of his favorite numbers. I sang

Luck Be a Lady Tonight, solo, and Peter Hayward got a perfectly fitting tuxedo for me for the part. Probably helped that his father was the President of the Chicago Bar Association.

To truly delve and ken the power of performance to seep into the cracks of people's minds, you would have had to watched the duet of Hey, Johnnie Look Sharp. The sad song ends when Johnnie, after singing to and with his mother, is shot dead, and dies. This was 1972, as my memory serves me, and this was a very powerful anti-war moment, when you could literally have heard a pin drop in the audience. As Ian Anderson wrote for Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick Album - "I may make you feel, but I can't make you think. Your sperm's in the gutter, your love's in the sink."

And in a moment when the audience was dazed, almost as if it were a bull, about to be killed by the matador, we lifted up the curtain to expose the Wizard of Oz, the meek, mild, weak puppet master pulling the strings, trying to maintain the illusion of power, and the entire ensemble pulled tiny American flags from our sleeves as we sang "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Familiarity, the audience burst out into a resounding round of applause that didn't stop until more than a minute after we had finished singing the song.


The last John Franklin Ganzer story is this. He is in the hospital in NYC, the AIDS virus has mestastisized into the pnemoniua from which one never recovers. John awakens. The medical staff begins its interogation:

"What's your name?" "John Ganzer."

"Where are you?" "Hospital in New york City, New York."

"What day of the week is it?" "Tuesday."

"Who's the President?" "Colleen Dewhurst."

I will carry you in my heart, my brother so dear, my brother so fair, unto my last breath, unto my last memory fades, and I emerge, a star burst, perhaps a single drop of rain - perhaps I may become a highway man again; but I'll come back again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.



I was so depressed when we went to New York City to celebrate the life of my beloved brother,John, that not even the most overt of the gay guys could bring themselves to console me; it was as if I were the Bermuda Triangle, and they put their very souls at risk by boating too close to my troubled waters. But there was one collegue of John's who did come forward, and in so doing, taught me one of life's most important lessons.

After the celebration, while munching on crumpets and eating tea, Werner Von Klempf approached me, stretched out h is hand, and said, “I loved your brother as a son; I was in awe of his vocal talent; and I had the highest respect and regards for him as a man.”

Thank you Werner, too late, for you too are with brother John in that heavenly balcony, watching the grand comedy unfold, and wondering, “where in the WORLD do these writers come up with this stuff?”

Of Werner, with whom my brother served on the Actor's Equity Council under the most well run Council President, Colleen Dewhurst, John had this to say. “He could be a real horse's ass.

When I came to New York City, there were sixty-six dinner theaters. Now, there are but nineteen. What profiteth an actor to have Equity Wages if he cannot find work to pay him those wages?”

Of course, Werner was wise in the ways of the world, in the ways of management, in the ways of old money, and well knew that a concession today might well lead to a surrender and disorderly retreat tomorrow.

They were both right. Neither one was wrong. We can agree to disagree, we can agree to be horse's asses unto each other, when speaking truthfully, passionately, about that which we care so much about, and, aside from God, Country, and Family (not necessarily in that order, but, on the other hand, are they not all one and the same?), what can be of more importance to the artisan than the payment he receives for the years spent perfecting his craft?

God Bless you Both, Brother John, Colonel Klenk. May you clank your glasses together as you drink the finest of wines, sniff the most expensive of brandies, and smoke the most fragrant Cubans together, and watch as the Great Mandella rolls round and round – never repeating exactly, but as always, reveaeling there are no new things under the sun.



John and Jay spent a lot of time going to memorial services for AIDS victims (90% of the operatic men, 50% of the theatre men, 10% of the TV men would eventually sucumb in the early days of this mystery killer) and they would rate the various events.  A lot of planning was put into making sure John's would be memorable.

Colleen Zenk, good friend that she has always been, spoke at length;  Laurie BeeChman sang;  Colleen Dewhurst offered some very rare words, but John was the special to her.  Marianne closed with the service.

While  munching on refreshments, Jay Poindexter approached me, kind of excited, "Mark, you've got to see this, they are naked on stage."  (O Calcutta! was playing).

But the most mystical of all the experience was the man whom no one knew, who got up and spoke of John's love of cheese sandwiches, on Wonder white bread, with Miracle Whip, who released a beavy of balloons for "Cheese Sandwich John."

Did John do this on purpose, and not even tell Jay about it?

That would explain just about all of it.

Good God Almighty!

What a MAN - My Brother John!!